The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Lady scientist comes up with environment friendly biocide to curb misuse of chemicals in Agriculture

Just as Agricultural experts are raising alarm on what is described to be current emergence new insects and crop that are developing resistance to pesticides, a young lady seems to have come up with environment friendly solution.

Dr Never Mwambela, has made a major breakthrough in agriculture, having invented an ‘all in one,’ pesticide, which is proving to be extremely effective among farmers here.

Never say never again

As a researcher who is also specializing in Sustainable Agriculture and Biodiversity Ecosystem Management,’ Never has come up with ‘Vugura Biocide,’ a special formula to curb the deadly tomato Pest known as ‘Tuta Absoluta,’ known locally here as ‘Kantangaze.’

The notorious tomato moth has been resistant to most chemicals, but from the research studies conducted in Ilula, Iringa; Dumila, Morogoro and Ngarenanyuki, Arusha, the scientist seems to have solved the pest problem, once and for all.

During trial tests, it was discovered that the new Vuruga Biocide formula coming in both liquid and powder forms, not only can kill the ‘Tuta Absoluta,’ but is also proving to be effective in annihilating the equally deadly pesticide-resistant army fall worms.

As it happens, the scientist was setting out to invent a remedy for tomato pests and ended up with an ‘eureka’ which will also solve other problems including armyworms and army fall warms.

 “This will help farmers save expenses by using a one-in-all solution to notorious pests,” said Dr Mwambela.

She added that the environment friendly, organic biocide is relatively safe to other organisms such as bees and birds, plus the formula assists plants to rejuvenate even after pests’ attacks.

Pesticide resisting insects

The Board Chairperson of the Arusha-based, Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority Prof Andrew Temu has revealed that there has also been resurgence of new types of mites, aphids, scale insects and caterpillars that have developed new coats of amours against chemicals.

“We believe that this resistance is brought about by excessive use or misuse of pesticides among local farmers,” said the TPHPA Board Chairperson while addressing the first Plant Health and Pesticides stakeholders meeting in the Ngaramtoni section of Arumeru.’

Prof Temu pointed out that this new negative development was threatening food security and cash crop production in the country, thus calling for rapid intervention measures.

Most agricultural experts attending the meeting proposed the use of organic inputs, from the disease and drought resistant indigenous kernels to organic fertilizers and plant-based, environment friendly insecticides.

AI in Agriculture

Tanzania is meanwhile mulling the deployment of Artificial Intelligence in the country’s farming sector to execute what is being described as ‘Precise Agriculture.’

“We may use artificial intelligence in churning out big data examinations, plant DNA identification and accurate weather prediction which includes capturing satellite images and digital analysis,” revealed the TPHPA official.

The Director General of Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority Prof Joseph Ndunguru pointed out that there were still no substitute inputs to replace the banned pesticides and this vacuum created a loophole for emerging pests and insects.

Prof Nduguru also revealed that the influx of sub-standard and counterfeit agricultural inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, including those that have long expired, were among the problems facing agriculture in Tanzania.

“We are thus compelled to conduct regular training and awareness rising sessions among farmers on how they can identify such harmful products,” he said.

The Arumeru District Commissioner Emanuella Kaganda who represented the Minister of Agriculture, directed the crop and soils experts to convene and find solutions to emerging challenges facing the farming sector in Tanzania.

She pointed out that by the year 2030 Tanzania will need more than 20 million tons of food for the country’s population, a noticeable increase from the current 16 million tons.

Operating from Arusha, the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority complies with requirements of International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) on sanitary and phytosanitary measures

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